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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

ON  THE MOTION  OF  PENDULUMS.                           93
this memoir was to determine the length of the seconds' pendulum by a new method, which consisted in swinging the same sphere with wires of two different lengths, the difference of lengths being measured with extreme precision. In the calculation, the absolute length of the simple pendulum isochronous with either the long or the short compound pendulum was regarded as unknown, but the difference of the two as known, and this difference, combined with the observed times of oscillation, is sufficient for the determination of the quantity sought. Nothing more would have been required if the pendulums had been swung in a vacuum ; but inasmuch as they were swung in air, a further correction was necessary to reduce the observations to a vacuum. Since it is necessary to take into account the inertia of the air, as well as its buoyancy, in reducing the observations to a vacuum, Bessel sought to determine by experiment the value of the factor Jo, of which the meaning has been already explained. The value of this factor, as Bessel remarked, will depend upon the form of the body; but he does not seem, at least in his first memoir, to have contemplated the possibility of its depending on the time of oscillation, and consequently he supposed it to have the same value for the long as for the short pendulum. When the factor k is introduced, the equation obtained from the known difference of length of the two simple pendulums contains two unknown quantities, namely k, and the length of the seconds' pendulum. To obtain a second equation, Bessel made another set of experiments, in which the brass sphere was replaced by an ivory sphere, having as nearly as possible the same diameter. The results obtained with the ivory sphere furnished a second equation, in which k appeared with a much larger coefficient, on account of the lightness of ivory compared with brass. The two equations determined the two unknown quantities.
Let A, be the length of the seconds' pendulum, t1} t2 the times of oscillation of the brass sphere when swung with the short wire and long wire respectively, llt 2 the lengths of the corresponding simple pendulums, corrected for everything except the inertia of the air, m the mass of the sphere, ml the mass of the fluid displaced; then
m